Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Book Review: Modesty

Modesty. Martha Peace and Kent Keller. 2015. P&R Publishing. 176 pages. [Source: Review copy]

The target audience for Modesty: More Than A Change of Clothes is young women: teen girls especially, though also perhaps, twenty-somethings. Martha Peace and Kent Keller contribute to each and every chapter providing dual perspectives on what modesty is and isn't. They often supplement one another, providing a balanced perspective on the subject.

As you might have guessed from the subtitle, one of the main messages of the book is that modesty isn't about what you wear, or, isn't only about what you wear. It is a heart issue. You can outwardly be modest for whatever reason, yet, still have an immodest heart-attitude.

The first part focuses on what modesty is and why it matters. (There's an insightful chapter on how guys are different from girls, and, how girls should be mindful of those differences.) The second part focuses on what the Old Testament has to say on immodesty and modesty. The third part focuses on what the New Testament says about immodesty and modesty. The fourth and final section focuses on the practice of modesty, here is where the book turns practical.

I loved how grounded the book was in Scripture. The book isn't so much about lists, rules, guidelines, or dress codes. Or about man-made lists, rules, guidelines on what is and isn't proper. The authors point out several times that each church, each denomination may have a strict almost-legalistic approach to what is and isn't proper to wear. They are not endorsing any one church's ideas. It is, instead, all about WHAT DOES THE BIBLE HAVE TO SAY ON THE SUBJECT? They examine principles in the Bible that can apply to modesty.

Here is how they define modesty:
Modesty is an inner attitude of the heart motivated by a love for God that seeks His glory through purity and humility; it often reveals itself in words, actions, expressions, and clothes.
Here is how they define immodesty:
Immodesty is an attitude of the heart that expresses itself with inappropriate words, actions, expressions, and/or clothes that are flirtatious, manipulative, revealing, or suggestive of sensuality or pride.
Does this definition differ from how you've always thought about modesty?

I also loved how the book discusses legalism. It had a lot of insightful things to say on the subject!
There are at least three ways that legalism expresses itself. There is the legalism of addition, the legalism of subtraction, and the legalism of algebra. 
The book ends with the focus shifting from modesty to the gospel itself. I love that they keep the gospel itself--a right relationship with God--the MAIN THING. Modesty isn't about conforming outwardly, it's about being in right fellowship with God.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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